Chinese cuisine

Janesville restaurateur’s incredible Titanic connection inspires documentary

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) – The Cozy Inn restaurant is well known in Janesville for its authentic Chinese cuisine. But it’s owner Tom Fong’s family story that’s making the box office buzz.

Fong’s father, Wing Sun, was one of eight Chinese passengers aboard the Titanic in 1912. He survived the wreckage by clinging to a piece of debris. It was a part of his father’s story that Fong didn’t learn about until much later in life. He knew his father was in a shipwreck but never thought it was the Titanic.

“I was skeptical when I first heard about it,” Fong said. “I never knew his story. I never thought about it because I assumed he was an older man because he was old when I was born. So I never knew his story, I never bothered to ask, I never thought about it.

Two of the Chinese passengers did not make it, but the six who did are at the center of a new documentary, “The Six”. It explores their incredible story of survival and perseverance through thick and thin, and how it never made it into the history books.

“They never really told the story because nobody really wanted to know what happened to them,” Fong said.

The film is already resonating with audiences. It is one of 130 films screened at the Beloit International Film Festival. Tickets are sold out, but a special screening has been added.

“Ticket sales have been unprecedented due to the relationship between sister cities, Janesville and Beloit,” said BIFF Board Member Nancy Clark-Mathers. “It had a phenomenal reception.”

James Cameron, original director of the movie “Titanic” is producing this documentary.

Fong hopes people will see his dad the new way he does, all these years later.

“It shows my dad’s determination as to why he would want to come to a country with a hostile environment,” Fong said. “How he adapted. How he persevered.

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